Multilingualism in China: The Politics of Writing Reforms for Minority Languages, 1949-2002

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Walter de Gruyter, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 458 pages
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Minglang Zhou's highly erudite and well-researched volume on the policies concerning writing reforms for China's minorities since 1949 provides an original and well-reasoned summary of a complex process. It documents how different script reforms meet dramatically different fates according to local preferences, history, cross-border ties, and the vitality of previously-used scripts. It convincingly shows that no single variable is decisive in the success of a script, and that language planners' fixation with technical details is doomed to failure, without careful coordination of extra-code factors. It also documents the little-known Sino-Soviet cooperation in the area of writing reforms. In a style accessible to both undergraduate and graduate students, Zhou's book is of interest to language planners, sinologists, applied linguists, writing theorists, and ethnologists.

 

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Contents

Minorities and minority languages in China
1
The politics of minority language policy 19492002
36
19641977
72
Official
99
in the 1980s
126
systems vs pronunciation assistance systems
136
status recognition
148
systems
165
supplementary
266
systems
274
The politics of traditional and reformed writing
280
of missionary writing systems
310
cases of Lahu and Jingpo
323
writing systems in Dai communities
330
The politics and sociolinguistics
347
Conclusion
389

borders
177
compromises
196
The politics of vernacular writing systems
209
vernacular
219
dialect approach
245
vernacular
251
and the implementation of language policy
390
Notes
402
Subject index
447
Index of officially recognized minority nationalities
454
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About the author (2003)

Minglang Zhou is Associate Professor at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, USA.

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